Clarence Pope, 76, the Episcopal bishop of Fort Worth, Texas, from 1986 to 1995, has rejoined the Roman Catholic Church, becoming the second bishop this year to switch from Episcopalian to Catholic. Pope became Catholic upon his retirement 12 years ago, but he returned to the Episcopal Church later that year because he was reluctant to give up his episcopacy. Last March, Daniel W. Herzog, the Episcopal bishop of Albany from 1998 to January 2007 and an outspoken critic of the denomination’s liberal trends, also announced his intentions to join the Catholic Church. Since this January, five bishops, including Pope and Herzog, have resigned from the Episcopal Church. The other three left to join different Anglican churches.
George O. Wood, general secretary of the 2.8-million-member Assemblies of God since 1993, was elected general superintendent August 10 during the Pentecostal denomination’s biennial General Council in Indianapolis. Wood, 65, succeeds Thomas Trask, who had served as general superintendent since 1993. The son of missionaries, Wood has served as a pastor. He is also an attorney and the author of seven books. The Missouri-based Assemblies of God has seen its worldwide membership grow from 25 million in 1993 to a current total of about 57 million.
Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, a Jewish convert whose mother died in the Auschwitz concentration camp and who became the Roman Catholic archbishop of Paris, died August 6 at the age of 80. Hospitalized since April, Lustiger suffered from cancer, according to the French newspaper Le Figaro. Born to Polish Jews in Paris in 1926, Lustiger converted to Catholicism in 1940 while living with a Catholic family in the city of Orleans, where his parents had sent him after the German invasion of France. After studying literature at the Sorbonne, Lustiger entered the seminary and became a priest in 1954. For 15 years he was dedicated to the spiritual needs of university students, first at the Sorbonne and then as head of a training school for university chaplains. As archbishop, Lustiger was a prominent advocate for Christian-Jewish relations, accompanying John Paul on a visit to Jerusalem in 2000 and helping settle a dispute over a convent of Carmelite nuns at Auschwitz. Jewish leaders protested the presence of the convent there until, at the cardinal’s suggestion, John Paul ordered it moved in 1993.